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COVID-19 Dealing Another Blow to Lakeside Businesses

Posted at 3:47 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 20:01:03-04

KEYSTONE LAKE, Okla. — The coronavirus threat continues to shut down sporting events across the world, and that's begun to impact Tulsa as well. The IronMan competition being postponed was a hard hit to a local business, especially ones that were supposed to host athletes.

When the IronMan competition came to Tulsa, competitors would have completed the swimming portion in Keystone Lake, entering the water at Keystone Harbor marina.

Marina Owner Ron Howell says he was not surprised the competition was put off, but was disappointed nonetheless. The news comes just months after businesses on Keystone Lake began to recover from record flooding in 2019.

“If you gave us two days’ notice, we would have the beach built and we would be ready to go," Howell said about the possibility of rescheduling. "We’re just relying on the good judgment of the experts who know that this would not be the time to bring 8,000 or 9,000 people to this area.”

Howell says high waters last year cost lakeside businesses Memorial Day and Fourth of July - eight weeks of peak business in all. He says the flooding concerns aren't entirely in the past, either, as Keystone Lake is already high entering the three wettest months of the year.

However, through all the hits businesses have taken, those with campsites remain open and accepting guests, as families practice social distancing in the great outdoors.

"This has been nice to forget about what's going on at home for a while before we have to implement everything when we get back,” said mother Jennifer Williams.

Jennifer and her husband Tyler spent a long weekend at Keystone Harbor in their RV with their son Tyler. Tyler says it's a great way to keep their distance from others and still get out of the house.

"We can just enjoy some time together without being cooped up inside,” Tyler said.

The campsite demand has helped so much that Howell is putting in more camping spots, and adding 80 slips to the marina. He says the site will continue to build, and be ready whenever IronMan is ready to return.

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